Friday, January 16, 2015


There have been controversies swirling around the behavior of religious leaders of all stripes for centuries. Leaving aside those who have clearly forgotten that killing is a sin against Love, another kind of violence has cropped up amongst  spiritual teachers.

Called "sexual misconduct," this phrase applies to gurus, rabis, roshis, rinpoches, imams, priests, ministers etc. who grope the faithful or have the faithful grope them. While it is illegal for a therapist or a school teacher to behave thus, the lines are more blurred in the private sector (no pun intended).

Of course anyone can sue anyone for sexual harrasment or worse. But in the enlightenment profession, seekers are more likely to be confused about the motives of the spiritual teacher than if their therapist hit on them whilst on the proverbial couch.

Many students involved in religious/spiritual traditions claim that their teacher is enlightened, but this seems a suspect assumption. If the student is not enlightened, how do they know that their teacher is -  aside from the PR generated by the teacher's inner circle? That assumption of infallibility is where the trouble begins.

Leaving that question to be decided by some other innocent, there is only one barometer with which to check to the motives of your teacher; the gut feeling.

It might be hard to trust your intuition if you never listened to it before, having muted it to survive in the material world. However, fearlessness in tuning in, and listening to what you hear, is the only way to see a red flag and change course.

Fearless is usually associated with soldiers in battle, or fireman running into a burning house to save people. Those external manifestations may be true, but real fearlessness lies in the ability to check your intuition, check your logical thought process, and then act according to the information.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

When the first inklings of a pandemic started brewing in late January, I was in Bodgaya, India, the place where the historical Buddha attai...